Legalization of medicinal cannabis is now fairly widespread, yet there’s been a paucity of data collected on patient experience.
A new study, published online in the June 2020 edition of the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, sheds a spotlight on the area, and the results suggest a significantly better quality of life for people using the drug.
The research reports the results of a longitudinal, cross-sectional, web-based survey completed between April 2016 and February 2018. The 1276 participants were either patients with a diagnosed health condition, or caregivers of a patient, and were registered with the Realm of Caring Foundation – a cannabis education, research and support network that collaborates with Johns Hopkins University.
The medical ailments of the patients involved in the trial were varied, but fitted broadly into the categories of neurological (e.g. epilepsy, multiple sclerosis), chronic pain (e.g. fibromyalgia, chronic back pain), and psychiatric (e.g. anxiety, depression and PTSD).
The results found that cannabis users needed fewer prescription medications for their conditions. They were also less likely to have visited an emergency department or been admitted to hospital in the past month.
As well as reporting less pain and greater health satisfaction, patients using cannabis were in psychologically better shape too, with lower anxiety, less depression and better quality sleep.
In this study 27% of users reported that a physician explicitly recommended cannabis, 45% said that a physician did not recommend use, and 28% provided no response.
Cannabis tinctures or oils intended for oral ingestion were the most commonly reported cannabis formulations (47%), followed by dried cannabis flowers (9%), “edibles” (8%), concentrates (3%), and other formulations such as topicals or suppositories (3%). Almost a third gave no information as to type.
“This study shows clearly that cannabinoids have a very positive effect on health outcomes across the board among all age groups and demographics” Jonathan Hoggard, PhD, CEO of Realm of Caring said in an interview with Grit Daily. “This publication will be the first of many based on the detailed findings of this extensive data set”.